The Blue Army (World Apostolate of Fatima) based out of New Jersey, USA, organized the first large scale pilgrimage from the United States to Medjugorje which included also Rome and Fatima. The pilgrimage was from June 29 to July 7, 1986. Among the 200 or more pilgrims from all over the United States that signed up on the charter flight was the future founder of Caritas of Birmingham (later known as a Friend of Medjugorje) and his family from Alabama. From his experience in Medjugorje, he was led to found an organization with a mission to promote Medjugorje among other important Catholic events taking place in the world. He was not the only one from this pilgrimage that ended up starting organizations to promote the apparitions. From this one pilgrimage, many Medjugorje Centers were started in different geographical areas around the country. The birth of the Medjugorje phenomenon in the United States can, therefore, be traced back to this pilgrimage organized by the Blue Army of Fatima.